A chronic exercise-hater, I took my first yoga class when my son was three because I hadn’t been too many places besides work or home since he was born and I was about ready to lose my mind. I’d just read a big article in the paper about the benefits of yoga, and a small studio had just opened up at the edge of my neighborhood. I took this as a sign, and I vowed to poke my head in and see what all this weirdness was about. It took about 2 months for me to pull on my big-girl panties and go in. I didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised to find a clean, yummy-smelling little room that didn’t have any strange statues, symbols on the walls, or odd chanting going on. The lady behind the counter looked normal enough, not the barefoot, thermal-underwear-wearing, unwashed hippie type I expected (I still had a head full of stereotypes back then). Ironically, I’d later come to greatly enjoy strange statues, symbols, and chanting….and being barefoot. Although there were one or two short times when I couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t practice regularly, primarily due to family priorities, I feel comfortable saying that I practiced at least once a week for about 9 years and loved every minute of it.

Things changed a year or two ago for two reasons: One, several local yoga studios closed, so class offerings were reduced. Two, I decided that even though yoga’s benefits were wonderful, rushing around after work and fighting traffic to get to a class just left me stressed and exhausted – more than the class would fix. I figured the schedules would shift soon enough, but when they didn’t I finally buckled and signed up for Jazzercize. I took a yoga class here and there when schedules allowed, I practiced a bit at home, and while my physical practice suffered I had chosen long ago to make my daily life a spiritual and mental practice, so that was okay. I was dealing.

About two months ago I discovered there was a yoga class being offered at my local Police Athletic League. It was at the perfect time, and close enough to home that I can walk there. I took this as a sign, and I vowed to poke my head in. It took about a month for me to pull on my big-girl panties and call (hmm, a theme is developing here). It’s walk-in, so no membership required, and my friend Karen was looking for a regular class so we went.

It felt like home.

Yoga is a strict taskmaster. Even with the regular Jazzercize, one thing you learn in yoga is you have muscles in places you never paid attention to before. And if you skip class for more than a week or so, yoga will be happy to remind you why a consistent practice is a wise path. Boy, did I ache the next day… in all those weird spots like my armpits (yes, there are muscles there). But, aaahhhhhh, it was good ache. Ache that reminds you how much you worked your body and loved yourself.

Ironically, the class I found has stopped until September, probably due to low attendance which is the norm around here for all types of indoor exercise. Too many other options when the weather is nice. But I’ll be back when the class resumes, and I’m not going to let it slide again.